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$16 million dorm for frosh being built at Gonzaga

Workers at Gonzaga University are transforming a grass soccer practice field into an estimated $16 million residence hall to hold 340 members of next year’s freshman class.

Work on the 102,000-square-foot structure, along Hamilton Street north of the Martin Centre, comes on the heels of the recently completed 195-unit, $11 million second phase of the Kennedy Apartments.

Like those residences, the new and as-yet-unnamed building will be a “hybrid” hall with a classroom, food and coffee shop and lounge and recreation areas, according to a university news release. Each floor will include an apartment for a resident assistant, chaplain or live-in faculty member.

News of the project follows Gonzaga’s admittance of another record freshman class: Figures released Tuesday show the current class has 1,103 students, compared with last year’s class of 1,031, according to the release.

The new dorms are part of a flurry of construction on the private school campus, which has a total enrollment of 7,229 including students in graduate programs and the law school.

Designed by Wolfe Architectural Group P.S., of Spokane, and built by Walker Construction, the new hall will offer 18,600 square feet of parking underneath a wood-framed structure. Gonzaga expects the construction to take about a year.

“Normally you would allow 15 to 18 months for a project of this size starting on a new site,” said Ken Sammons, Gonzaga’s director of plant and construction services. “We opted to take the crew that had just finished building Kennedy … and have them continue what they’ve been doing successfully for the last three years.”

Building to house homeless vets

Starting next month, 35 homeless veterans will have a place to live in the reopened Turner Building.

Renamed the Pioneer Victory House, the three-story structure, 925 W. Broadway Ave., is slated to provide furnished, single-room apartments and case-management services. The program is a partnership between Pioneer Human Services, of Seattle, and the Spokane Veterans Affairs Medical Center.

In recent years, the Spokane Veterans Affairs service area included roughly 3,600 homeless veterans. Of those, about 1,200 were “chronically homeless,” according to Volunteers of America literature.

The units have been empty for more than a year, following the expiration of a federal grant, said Cindy Algeo, executive director of the Spokane Low Income Housing Consortium. Spokane’s Housing Authority, Northeast Washington Housing Solutions, had considered purchasing the building following the loss of many low-income housing units to redevelopment last year; that deal never materialized.

“We know there’s a huge need in Spokane, so to help the homeless veterans is just a perfect match for us to extend our services,” said LorieAnn Larson, senior management associate for Pioneer.

Pioneer provides housing, treatment and employment opportunities to people overcoming problems such as mental health issues and criminal histories. It already has in-patient, re-entry and permanent housing facilities in Spokane.

The Department of Veterans Affairs already has identified most of the people who will be placed there, Larson said. “It’s going to be a really structured program,” she said.

Pioneer leases the building from local developer Mick McDowell.

Home show starts next week

From a gated, seniors-only community on the South Hill to Craftsman-style houses in North Spokane, 50 homes representing 35 of the region’s builders will be on display starting next week during this year’s Fall Festival of Homes.

Now in its fourth year, the festival is sponsored by the Spokane Home Builders Association. Builders undoubtedly hope the show will boost lagging sales. Only 541 new single-family homes have sold countywide through August of this year, compared with 826 for the same period in 2007, according to Spokane Association of Realtors data.

The free, scattered-site tour, runs Sept. 26-28 and Oct. 3-5. Homes are open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on show dates. For a list of homes, visit

Children’s store opens in Garland

A new children’s apparel boutique has opened in the Garland district.

Mockingbird offers clothing for infants and toddlers, toys and some eco-friendly and organic products, said sole employee Rebeccah Todd. The shop, 903 ½ W. Garland Ave., will have a grand opening on Sept. 26.

“A lot of the things that we carry, you can only find like online,” Todd said.

The store is owned by Laura Kelly, co-owner of Lolo Boutique, 319 W. Second Ave.

Reach Parker Howell at (509) 459-5491 or at